"We learned late Thursday night that it is believed that our dear sister with a larger-than-life personality took her own life," William and Christy told PEOPLE via a statement.
Her family also told TMZ that Ashley— who had been living in Austin for the past two years— was struggling with substance and alcohol abuse and had been battling "demons" while "trying to get her life back on track". She had even adopted a golden retriever puppy nine months before her death in the hope she'd help with her loneliness.
Since news of her passing was announced to the press, Christy has paid tribute to her gorgeous sister, writing on Facebook: "Because I can't find the words to say I will just leave this here. I love you and will miss you every day. Fly high sister, I know you are the most gorgeous angel in heaven!"
Brother Billy expressed his sadness on social media, remembering Ashley as a "rock star" and "beauty queen".
Since being named Playboy's Miss March 2011, Ashley's troubled life, which was marked by misfortune, began to spiral out of control.
Less than a year after scoring her big break, her ex-boyfriend and former Prison Break star Lane Garrison was caught on surveillance video slapping her in the face at her Beverly Hills apartment. He was convicted of domestic battery and was sentenced to probation, counselling and a fine.
Then, in 2016, according to TMZ, Ashley was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in Laguna Beach, California. She allegedly crashed her golf cart into four parked cars while intoxicated.
Need help? Call Lifeline on 131 114, visit www.lifeline.org.au/get-help/get-help-home, or call beyondblue on 1300 224 636. If you would like to talk to someone about mental health call Headspace on 1800 650 890. If you are in immediate danger, call 000
If you or someone you know is affected by sexual assault or family violence, call the 1800RESPECT hotline or visit www.1800respect.org.au/. You can also call the Domestic Violence Hotline on 1800 656 463.